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Valorisation of by-products or waste-streams from the food processing industry into high added-value products for market applications

Demonstrate at industrial scale the recovery of valuable bio-molecules from food processing by-products or waste-streams and their conversion into high added-value products of suitable quality to meet market requirements.

Proposals should address the whole value chain from the existing by-products or waste-streams to the end-products, including where applicable the recursive feeding of products back into the original value chain in a circular model (e.g. organic fertilisers).

Proposals addressing waste-streams or by-products that fall under specific waste legislation must prove that the developed technologies and processes fulfil regulatory requirements and are able to deliver safe products both for human health and for the environment.

Proposals should encompass the model of integrated biorefinery, be able to use a biomass from various European sources as input and be capable of delivering a range of products, either novel or equivalent to existing products.

Safety, quality and purity of the products must be in line with commercial and/or regulatory requirements by actively building upon existing knowledge and standardisation activities.

Proposals should also include a Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment in order to evaluate the environmental, social and economic performance of the whole value chain.

Proposals should achieve a system complete and qualified for successful commercial operation (Technology Readiness Level 8).

It is considered that proposals with a total eligible budget of up to EUR 30 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals with another budget.

Around 100 Mt of food waste and residues from food processing industry are generated every year in the EU. Around 38% thereof happens at processing stage. The waste streams of the food industry include animal-based as well as plant-based streams. These waste streams or by-products are currently either unusable and go to disposal, or find only partial, low value utilisation. Significant amounts of compounds with potential for valorisation into high added-value products are lost in these by-products or waste-streams. Furthermore, disposing of these streams in landfill causes environmental issues due to their high landfill leachate and methane-emissions. Valorisation of food processing by-products or waste-streams hence represents both an opportunity and a necessity.

The challenge is to demonstrate viable large scale valorisation of by-products or waste-streams from the food processing industry, capable of handling a wide variety in composition.

In many cases, regulatory framework may also be an obstacle: animal residues (and also some plant-based waste-streams, such as citrus peels or winery effluents in some countries) are considered as potentially hazardous wastes and are subjected to strict regulation. This implies that disposal often represents the only viable option, resulting in high costs.

When addressing valorisation of waste-streams:

  • Reduction of waste disposal by 20% in the selected value chain, as compared to the current situation.
  • Contribution to the European objective of reducing the recyclable (including organic) content in landfilled waste down to 25% by 2025 as per the EC’s Landfill Directive.
  • Reduction of CO2-emissions of at least 10% versus current waste disposal practices for the selected waste stream through operational efficiency in the whole value chain

When addressing valorisation of by-products:

  • Production of high value products with an improved sustainability profile.

When addressing either waste streams or by-products:

  • Safety, quality and purity of the (new) products are in line with EU legislation and have been proven to meet end-market requirements in order to facilitate future market access and commercialisation.
  • Contribution to the BBI JU Key Performance Indicators (KPI), specifically:
    • Creation of at least 1 new cross-sectorial interconnection in bio-based economy clusters (KPI 1), at least 1 new bio-based value chains (KPI 2), at least 3 new cooperation projects involving relevant stakeholders, such as farmers, industrial stakeholders and end-users (KPI 3) and the production of at least one or more different bio-products from food industry by-products or waste-streams, validated from technical, economic and environmental points of view (KPI 5).